|Answering The Dreaded Weakness Question|
|Written by Abby Kohut|
People say that there are no guarantees in life. Maybe so, but I guarantee you that you are guaranteed to be asked a question in an interview about your weaknesses. Your mission should be to be well prepared to not only answer this question, but to answer it successfully.
Before I tackle the dreaded weaknesses question, let's first agree that no one is perfect – even your interviewer. The question is whether your particular imperfections are going to interfere with the specific job you are applying for.
An interviewer can ask the weakness question in a variety of ways:
I recommend that you start by making a personal list of all of your weaknesses that could affect your job performance. Stick with this until you've come up with five weaknesses. We'll return to this list in a moment.
It might be tempting to answer this question with: "I am a workaholic so my weakness is that I have a hard time saying no" or "I am a manager who has high expectations of my staff so I tend to push them too hard." Unfortunately, these are overused and any savvy interviewer will realize this. If your interviewer doesn't think you are being genuine, he or she may continue to press you until you reveal a weakness that is more believable.
Here is a real world example of a weakness: "I am a perfectionist. While that may not seem like a weakness, it causes me to put off finishing projects. To solve this problem, I typically ask my managers to give me deadlines so that I know when the project must be completed". Or, "I have been told that my presentation skills need some work, so I have asked for more opportunities to speak in front of groups and have recently joined Toastmasters".
So let's have a look now at that list you created. Did you list a weaknesses, that under the right circumstances, can be an asset to a company? If so, offer that as an example. Then explore how you have overcome this weakness and what you are doing to improve it.
The key as usual is to know yourself – know what makes you a superstar and know what areas you need to work on. Celebrating the fact that your interviewer did not uncover your weakness in an interview is dangerous. Wouldn't you rather be hired for who you really are than trying to compensate for your weaknesses during your first few months when all eyes are upon you? I vote yes.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Choosing a career where you can showcase your strengths rather than your weaknesses is the ultimate goal. Being able to convey to an interviewer who you truly are as an employee and what you love to do will put you on the road to success.